Nicholas Burton: 'Merciless' killer due to be released, says MP

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Nicholas BurtonImage source, PA Media/GMP
Image caption,
Nicholas Burton was found guilty of stabbing 27-year-old Rachel McGrath to death in 1997

A killer given three life sentences and recommended to spend the rest of his life in jail is due for release next year, MPs have heard.

Nicholas Burton was found guilty of murdering 27-year-old Rachel McGrath, who he stabbed to death in a car park in Bramhall, Stockport, in 1997.

Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts said Ms McGrath's parents had been told Burton "would walk free next year".

The Ministry of Justice said Burton's release was "by no means certain".

Speaking in the Commons, the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said: "My constituent Michael McGrath is battling for justice for his family.

"His sister Rachel McGrath was murdered in a brutal stranger attack by Nicholas Burton in 1997.

"The trial judge described Burton as merciless and manipulative and recommended that no home secretary - as the arrangement was at the time - would ever be likely to allow his release.

"Rachel's elderly parents were recently told that Burton would walk free next year.

"They haven't even been able to make a victim statement and believe the correct procedure has not been followed.

"Will he agree, please, to a ministerial meeting with the family to help ensure that they have all the information they need, that their voice is heard and it is respected?"

Justice minister Alex Chalk thanked Ms Saville Roberts for raising the "extremely sensitive, distressing and, frankly, appalling" case.

He added: "Yes, of course I will be delighted to meet."

Speaking during the case in 1998, Mr Justice Morland told Liverpool Crown Court that a psychiatrist had described Burton as one of the most dangerous men she had ever come across in her career.

Burton's trial also heard that hours after killing Ms McGrath, he kidnapped a 17-year-old girl he said he had intended to murder.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said Burton's release "can only be directed by the Parole Board after he has served the minimum 25 year term which ends next year".

"Even at that stage, it is by no means certain that they will do so," he added.

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